Once I got started with my unusual tostadas, I keep thinking about different kinds of beans and how they might be used to make a different kind of tostada. Red beans and rice is a staple in New Orleans and Louisiana. So my thinking was to use the red beans as a starting point for a New Orleans tostada.
My first idea was to top the tostada with Cajun shrimp. Can’t get much more New Orleans than that. But then I had the idea of andouille sausage, very much associated with Cajun cuisine. Both sounded ideal and I couldn’t make a choice. So I didn’t. It’s the shrimp on one tortilla, the sausage on the other.
For the red beans, I used canned kidney beans, which some recipes call for. This seemed so much easier than starting with dry beans. I used the whole can of beans, which is more than I need for the tostada. But what else would I use the kidney beans for? I’ll eat the leftover red beans for lunch. The recipe for the red beans was adapted from a number of different recipes. But feel free to use your own approach and spices. I chose to remove the casing before chopping up the sausage, but that certainly is not necessary. I cooked the beans for at least a half hour before starting the sausage, shrimp, and tortillas, so they cooked for at least 40 minutes. Cooking this long (or longer) makes the beans softer, but this is not necessary.
For the shrimp, I used McCormick’s Cajun seasoning and followed a recipe from their website. Again, I am choosing the easiest way, but you could certainly follow a more authentic recipe.
The amounts of cayenne pepper in the beans and the vinaigrette make this moderately spicy. Use more or less to suit your taste.
New Orleans tostada
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 andouille sausage, chopped up
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 andouille sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
4–6 shrimp, depending on size
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
romaine lettuce, chopped into smaller pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
To make the red beans, start by browning the sausage in some olive oil. Add the onions and green pepper and cook over medium heat until soft, adding the garlic for the last minute. Add the kidney beans, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook covered at a low simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally, adding more chicken broth as needed to keep it from getting dry.
Brown the pieces of the second sausage in olive oil. Remove from the pan and wipe out the pan. Melt butter in the pan. Put the shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a small plastic bag and shake to coat the shrimp with the seasoning. Cook the shrimp in the butter until pink on both sides, no more than about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan.
Wipe out the pan again. Heat a thin layer of oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.
Place the tortillas side-by-side. Top with a layer of the red beans. Add the romaine. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, and pepper. Spoon over the romaine. Put the andouille sausage on one tortilla and the shrimp on the other.